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Posts by Serena Witzke

A black-and-white image of the reverse of a diadrachm of Magas, dated 300–275 BCE, depicting the silphium plant, with a small crab on the right side and Greek letters interspersed in the branches of the plant.

Blog: Roe v. Wade, the GOP, and echoes of Augustus: Reproducing fascism

June 25, 2022

I guess I should say “thank you.” Gratias vobis ago. Thank you to the Republican Party’s long game, a partisan SCOTUS, years of deliberate Democratic avoidance. You see, I’ve been wanting for a while to write a book about social control, forced reproduction, and their effects on real people living under an authoritarian government Read more …

Gaius Gracchus addressing the plebeians. Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

Blog: Impeachment and Republican Rome

February 18, 2021

If there’s one thing in this divided America that we can all agree on, it’s that former president Donald J. Trump’s impeachment lawyer Bruce Castor Read more …

Blog: Domestic Violence in Ancient Rome and Game of Thrones

May 27, 2019

Friends, Romans, Countrymen, I want to talk about domestic violence and Game of Thrones.

Game of Thrones has always had a woman problem: naked women used as set dressing, “sexposition” (the exposition of important plot points with sex acts in the background), the humiliation of women, scripting woman characters to thank their years of rape and abuse for making them “strong,” and gratuitous rape of and violence against women. For this last, take your pick: Daenerys Read more …

Mosaic depicting theatrical masks of Tragedy and Comedy

Blog: Teaching Comedy through Performance

November 27, 2017

Ancient comedy was a thoroughly performative genre, meant to be seen and heard, not read. This point should be obvious, but it can easily get lost in a traditional college or university course on comedy in translation, given the textual nature of the transmission of comedies, their distance in time and culture, the difficulties presented by translated material, and the demands and traditions of teaching Greek and Roman literature generally. In this post I describe a comedy-in-performance assignment that T.H.M Gellar-Goad and I created and have used in teaching general-education courses at two different American universities. One of us employed it in lieu of the usual final exam and term paper; the other was bound by writing seminar standards to include a term paper in addition to the performance project. The basic idea is flexible enough to fit drama of any period or genre, and could be used in various levels and types of courses (not, admittedly, massive lecture courses), for Read more …